Otakon 2009: Kanon Wakeshima Concert

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Being a follower of Vampire Knight along with the rest of the fan girl population, I was ecstatic when I heard that Kanon Wakeshima was going to be performing at Otakon this year.  Kanon Wakeshima is a fairly new artist.  Signing with Sony in 2008, she soon after released her first single, “Still Doll”, which fortunately became the chosen ending single for the popular awaited anime adaptation of Matsui Hino’s Vampire Knight.  Through the publicity it gained from Vampire Knight, “Still Doll” became an instant success and peaked on the Oricon charts at #33.  Her second single for Vampire Knight, “Suna no Oshiro” also peaked at #39.

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Because of Kanon’s recent debut, I had little exposure to her music. Like many fans, I had only heard “Still Doll” and “Suna no Oshiro”. On the day of the concert, I didn’t know what to expect. The line was long, packed with the usual con crowd and Lolita girls.  After suffering a strong headache from the opening act, my only hopes were that the concert be worth the suffering I had just endured and that it live-up to all the hype it had generated.

 

The concert certainly was everything and more.  Kanon lit up the stage in her black and red laced Lolita dress as images from Vampire Knight appeared on the screens. Her voice was as strong and clear as on her CD, but the highlight of the show was definitely her cello.  Her cello performance was also impressive, and added to the energy of the show.  I also found her personality to be extremely friendly and cute.  She even had a name for her cello and introduced it to the audience.  While she English was far from fluent, her accent just added to her cuteness. Overall I thought her stage presence was strong and her performance inspiring. This was certainly a great Otaku concert.

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While the concert was one of the best I’ve ever been to, I do have one small complaint with the organization of the program.  Since the Kanon Wakeshima concert was a day after the Mel concert, many fans had learned the previous night that autographs would take place immediately after the performance had ended.  Having this knowledge, a huge crowd ran towards the autograph area, located on the stage right, as Kanon began singing her final song.  While I can understand the excitement and desire to meet Kanon and get her autograph, I found that this was extremely rude and distracting.  Perhaps next year there will be a better way to organize concert and autographs.

~Lena Pang


Otakon 2009: The [geist] Experience

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Having never been a fan of rock or punk music, I definitely would not be the best person to judge a visual kei band.  I can honestly testify though that many of my fellow Kanon Wakeshima fans seemed just as shocked as I was when [geist] appeared on the stage and began playing their hard core music.

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My first encounter with [geist] was during the 2009 Japan Festival at the University of Maryland in College Park.  It was a family event.  Professors, students, and many others in the Maryland community brought their family to enjoy an enriching night of cultural experience.  The festival offered a show of traditional Japanese dance, and had a room filled with booths that introduced guests to various aspect of Japanese society.  It was a calm and quiet affair until the stage was cleared in preparation for the band…

Standing there on stage, the members of [geist] certainly were more than just a face in the crowd.  The audience looked at them with curiosity, and then…they played their first song…  Saying that their music was a shocking contrast to the atmosphere in the room would be an understatement.  The room quickly emptied as grandparents, children, students and professors sought shelter from the noise.  The Maryland community was obviously not ready for [geist].geist 2

As I stood there in Hall D of the Baltimore Convention Center and saw the familiar faces enter the stage, I too was not ready for [geist].  While I can appreciate that there are many fans of visual kei and j-rock, I found their music too great a contrast to Kanon Wakeshima’s.  I do wish the band luck in their climb to success, but I would just ask that they try to choose more appropriate venues in the future.

([geist] Photos courtesy of Lee Miller)

~Lena Pang